With temperatures hovering around freezing during the match the U.S. got two goals on either side of halftime. Midfielder Chris Klein set up Ben Olsen and Brian Ching late in the first half and also scored one of his own for the team’s final tally in the 71st minute. Eddie Johnson notched the third U.S. strike just over a minute into the second half.
The U.S. is now 3-0-1 in 2006 and with four tallies against Guatemala has scored 12 goals in the last three games. After a scoreless draw with Canada the U.S. buried five goals against Norway in a 5-0 win before netting three against Japan in a 3-2 victory.
"I thought it was a good performance today by our team said Bruce Arena who upped the USA’s unbeaten streak in Texas to 12 matches. "Obviously the conditions weren't perfect but I thought the field was great. It's a terrific facility here to play in. I think the Guatemalan team gave us a really good game. They were tough to break down and they defended well in the early going. We had some goal-scoring opportunities that we failed on early in the game and we struggled a bit."
"The first goal by Ben Olsen was a terrific individual effort as well as a big goal psychologically in the game. Certainly the second goal by Ching right at the end of the half basically put the game away."
After testing 20-year-old Guatemalan goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez who made his first international appearance with a few opportunities by Josh Wolff Chris Rolfe and Kerry Zavagnin in the first half the U.S. finally broke through when Olsen hit a blistering shot in the 38th minute.
Klein served in a cross from the right sideline to Olsen at the top of the penalty area. The D.C. United midfielder took a settling touch with his left foot before unleashing a right-footed blast into the upper left corner past the outstretched hands of the ‘keeper. The strike was Olsen’s fifth international goal and his first since Nov. 17 2002 against El Salvador.
On the other end of the field Brad Guzan also collected his first cap in goal but his day was far less busy as Guatemala registered just five shots. After an easily snagged attempt from Guillermo Ramirez in the third minute forward Julio Goran had the best effort of the day for Guatemala when his 20-yard drive in the 24th minute went inches over the right corner of the goal.
The U.S. solidified their hold on the match with a goal in the closing seconds of the first half and with another just two minutes after the intermission. After a foul along the right sideline Wolff chipped the ball over a defender to Klein who lofted a high cross into the penalty area for Ching. With a defender blanketing him Ching did well to bring the ball down and hit a laser from the penalty spot past Jerez into the left side of the goal.
If Guatemala had any thoughts of building a comeback in the second half Johnson came on to serve as a one-man wrecking crew just 70 seconds after kickoff. Rolfe flicked a long ball forward to the top of the penalty area and after a Guatemalan defender whiffed Johnson was able to streak through and avoid defender Luis Swisher before lifting the ball high into the net with the outside of his right foot from the six-yard box. The goal was Johnson’s ninth in 12 games with the U.S. MNT and his first since returning from a foot injury that had kept him out of the lineup for most of 2005.
Klein put the finishing touches on the match with an unassisted goal in the 71st minute helping him take home Man of the Match honors. Olsen served in a free kick from the left flank that Rolfe got on the end of at the back post but his shot was deflected by a Guatemalan defender. The ball came back to the top of the box where Klein drilled a low screamer through the maze of defenders and into the net.
Eddie Pope anchored the U.S. defense and helped shut down Carlos Ruiz and the rest of the Guatemalan attack for the entire match. Jimmy Conrad came up with a number of well-timed tackles and the speed and agility of Frankie Hejduk and Heath Pearce shut down any attacks on the flanks.
Late in the match Arena added two more names to his long list of players that have received their first cap since he took over as U.S. manager in 1998. Defender Bobby Boswell came on in reserve for Frankie Hejduk in the 76th minute while Zach Wells replaced Guzan in the 80th minute.
The U.S. will venture to Germany for their next two matches. The U.S. will face Poland on Wednesday March 1 at Fritz-Walter-Stadion in Kaiserslautern (tickets) site of the USA’s highly anticipated FIFA World Cup match against Italy on June 17. Kickoff for the match is set for 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and delayed on Telemundo.
The U.S. will return three weeks later to face Germany on Wednesday March 22 at Westfalenstadion in Dortmund. Kickoff for the match is set for 2:25 p.m. ET and will be televised live on ESPN2 and delayed on Telemundo. Fans can also follow both matches in Germany live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
The USA was drawn into Group E for the 2006 FIFA World Cup along with the Czech Republic Ghana and Italy. The U.S. plays their opening match against the Czechs on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen before meeting Italy and then finishing off group play against Ghana on June 22 in Nuremberg. The U.S. has chosen the northern port city of Hamburg as their base of operations throughout the tournament.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Guatemala
Date: February 19 2006
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Pizza Hut Park – Frisco Texas
Kickoff: 1 p.m. CT
Weather: 30 degrees overcast
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 2 4
Guatemala 0 0 0
USA – Ben Olsen (Chris Klein) 38th minute
USA – Brian Ching (Klein) 45+.
USA – Eddie Johnson (Chris Rolfe) 47.
USA – Chris Klein 71.
USA: 24-Brad Guzan (18-Zach Wells 80); 6-Heath Pearce 12-Jimmy Conrad 23-Eddie Pope (capt.) 2-Frankie Hejduk (4-Bobby Boswell 76); 5-Kerry Zavagnin (25-Brian Carroll 63);14-Ben Olsen 21-Santino Quaranta 71 17-Chris Klein; 16-Josh Wolff (9-Eddie Johnson 46) 11-Brian Ching 7-Chris Rolfe (10- Kyle Martino 80)
Subs not used: none
Head Coach: Bruce Arena
GUA: 1-Ricardo Jerez; 3-Pablo Melgar 4-Luis Swisher 5-Henry Medina; 7-Martin Machon (15-Juan Carlos Plata 46) 8-Gonzalo Romero (13-Leonel Noriega 83) 11-Guillermo Ramirez (10-Marvin Avila 14-Selvyn Ponciano 19-Mario Rodriguez (12-Carlos Figueroa46);16-Julio Giron (capt.)( 17-Patrick Howell 88) 20-Carlos Ruiz (9-Mario Acevedo 63)
Subs not used: 22-Carlos Cano 18-Eddy Cabrera 21-Marlon Aguirre
Head Coach: Marlon Ivan Leon
USA – Heath Pearce (caution) 40th minute
USA - Chris Rolfe (caution) 55.
GUA – Julio Giron (caution) 62.
GUA – Gonzalo Romero (caution) 69.
Referee: Mauricio Navallo (CAN)
1st Asst.: Simon Fearn (CAN)
2nd Asst.: Amado DeLuca (CAN)
Fourth Official: Michael Kennedy (USA)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Chris Klein